08 October 2021

Now I Hate David Leonhardt - part the first

Never thought it would come to this; this title is far less tongue-in-cheek than for Irwin. Leonhardt has gone all wannaBePresident Huey Long 2024 on me. I had such regard for his sanity. Now, gone. He has an e-mail thingee (for subscribers I suppose) which is archived as "The Morning Newsletter" if you want to find it, of uncertain (to my memory) frequency. Today's, carrying the title "The Covid Fable", has this to say:
The best measure of U.S. cases (a seven-day average, adjusted for holiday anomalies) peaked around 166,000 on Sept. 1 — the very day that seemed to augur a new surge. The number of new daily cases has since fallen almost 40 percent. Hospitalizations are down about 30 percent. Deaths, which typically change direction a few weeks after cases, have declined 13 percent since Sept. 20.
Then goes on to chronicle the Bad Things that people think:
- Clutch chokers
- Vaccines and humility
The main determinants of Covid's spread (other than vaccines, which are extremely effective) remain mysterious. Some activities that seem dangerous, like in-person school or crowded outdoor gatherings, may not always be. As unsatisfying as it is, we do not know why cases have recently plunged. The decline is consistent with the fact that Covid surges often last for about two months before receding, but that's merely a description of the data, not a causal explanation.
[my emphasis]
I guess he forgets the Sturgis meets? And the original super-spreader: the DeSantis Spring Breakers? There's absolutely no mystery about spread: masks, distancing, staying away from closed-in areas (and jam packed outdoors, too) all have distinguished areas with high counts and those with low counts. Just go back to the Tectonix map from March 2020 to see the spread. Jeez!!

This all, of course, ignores the data splendidly displayed in his own newspaper. Recall from a few days ago, the post 16 June deaths by county map. Is it too much to ask to accept that this map does show how Covid-Δ has spread? The stupid Red states, which ignore all of the proven (despite Leonhardt's instance that 'proven' is a myth) mitigations, have died expeditiously, while the Blue states which continue to be smart about the situation, aren't. What the hell is this guy thinking? If he is, that is.

As to the rise and fall of Covid strains, yes, one should infer that:
- all strains are more infectious than our lackluster testing regime says
- all strains are more asymp than our lackluster testing regime says
- herd immunity is the only reasonable explanation
- if you're willing to kill tens, if not hundreds, of thousands by doing nothing...
- the two month cycle he asserts is nowhere near true; in many states it's been much longer
- if you view the USofA map, you'll see that 12 Sep. 2020 doesn't peak until 8 Jan.
- if you view the USofA map, you'll see that each cycle had a different span

These states have either yet to fall over (case counts, not deaths), or have just started to (start, peak)
Alaska - 1 July, 27 September: 3 months so far, still above previous maximum
Hawaii - 1 July, 2 September: 2 months so far, still above previous maximum
Idaho - 4 July, 13 September: 2 1/2 months so far, oscillating just below peak
Michigan - 1 July, none: still climbing
Missouri - 4 June, 7 August: but is in gradual decline, not precipitous
Montana - 6 July, 23 September: oscillating just below peak
North Dakota - 28 June, none: still climbing
South Dakota - 1 July, 14 September: but is in gradual decline, not precipitous
Utah - 2 June, 13 September: was in gradual decline, now climbing
Wisconsin - 2 July, 21 September: was in gradual decline, now climbing
Wyoming - 5 July, 13 September: oscillating just below peak

Going through the individual state graphs is a pain. An alternative, with much less detail, is available here, scroll down to see the map groups.

In sum: Leonhardt is just a knucklehead.

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